Before Insomniac Games landed on the version of Venom that will appear in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, the studio “played around” with different looks for the Marvel villain – including ones that looked “comical” or “too scary”.
That’s according to senior art director Jacinda Chew, who sat down with NME to discuss the challenges of designing a shapeshifting villain like Venom.
“When you’re making a creature that can take a lot of different forms, it’s got to be somewhat liquid but it still has to feel strong,” shared Chew, who said there was “a lot” of playing around with Venom’s look.
“One of the first things I figured out very quickly is [Venom] shouldn’t be dripping,” said Chew. “If he’s constantly dripping it starts to look comical, so that’s not scary at all. Then if you look at the tendrils, sometimes if you [make them] too thin, it does start getting into body horror and it looks a little too scary.”
As Peter Parker will have a suit infected by Venom’s Symbiote, these design choices extended to Spider-Man’s new look in the sequel. Discussing his Symbiote-enhanced suit, Chew said the goal was to create something that still looked alive.
“We don’t want you to forget that something’s off,” she added, pointing out that the suit will have a negative effect on Peter Parker’s attitude toward others. The same thing happens in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, resulting in this notorious scene featuring “emo” Peter Parker.
While Chew was “tempted to do something” with that scene in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, she decided against it. “Ultimately we have to choose what’s right for our narrative,” she explained. “We want to make sure that it’s very grounded and natural-feeling.”
Instead, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 will make the Symbiote’s influence feel more “subtle”. As an example, Chew points to a part of the demo where Parker “carelessly” throws a civilian to safety.
“That’s what gives the story more complexity,” said Chew. “If we just had a scene where we said ‘He’s evil’, it wouldn’t feel very grounded.”
“You also wouldn’t get that sense of discoverability as a player,” she added, explaining that Insomniac wants players to discover the Symbiote’s effect themselves.
Elsewhere, Chew also explained how Insomniac has put its own spin on other villains in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, including Lizard and Kraven.